I am 36, in good overall health, not overweight, am a light smoker. I am female, and there are no major health issues on either side of my family. Both of my parents are quite healthy, and my father's mother is doing quite well at 89. Other grandparents died at 68,77,81.
My goal is to always go to bed around the 10:00 hour.
I don't have caffeine after 7.
I am never tired during that hour, but wind up wide awake until 1-2 AM.
Besides being tired of taking OTC pills, I now get restless legs from the diphenhydramine. I took them for 4 years.
Out of desperation, I began to replace the pills with alcohol, and, as I'm sure you know, permitted me sleep but with a ridiculous price to pay the next day. This occurred 3-5X per week for 6 months.
If I manage to get to sleep at a decent hour, I am up by 3, otherwise, I am up by 5ish.
I am always exhausted.
I don't eat breakfast because it just make sleepier about a half hour later.
I don't eat lunch for the same reason.
When I say sleepier, please know I mean almost comatose. It's hard to even walk. I am an instructor, so I can usually manage to work around it. If I have to sit in a meeting, or for training, I always fall asleep. Kind friends always sit next to me to nudge me repeatedly.
I stay tired all day. Naturally, at 8 PM, I wake up, and am faced with the same problem.
I drink 4 cups of coffee between 5 AM and 10.
I drink non-caffeinated beverages mid day.
I eat supper around 4:30 PM.
I have taken a test which compels me to fast then drink an icky sweet beverage, twice, at ages 25 & 30. It didn't provide a solution to this.
I perform moderate exercise 2-3 times per week, for over an hour, and I hike/bike/kayak 1-2 days per month.
I do have the TV on when I go to bed, but do not watch it; it is used akin to the radio, and I have no problem tuning it out. In fact, as 'white noise', it is much better than no noise.
My dreams are extremely active. I often work in my sleep, and, at least 3-4 times a week, wake up talking to a person in my dream.
At this point, the notion of not sleeping has left me very anxious. I am now worrying by 6-7 PM about the fact that I won't get to sleep. I have to talked myself out of taking the OTC's (which I know I'll regret) and running to the store for a 'few drinks' (normally, I am a 4-5X per year social drinker), but I am running out of hope, here.
I believe the sleep is correlated nutrition, but I have, in the past, reshaped the eating habits I have had for 20 years, and did not have success, irrespective if the additional meals were high in proteins, or carbs.
It may be that I just, in reality, only need a few hours sleep, but, there is so much noise in my head when I go to sleep each night, that I don't see logic in this. I would think that I would require more.
I am hoping that I have been detailed enough to receive a few suggestions on how to proceed. Could it be a lack of vitamins/minerals? Is there a way to slow my mind down in the evening? Is there a way to wake up? Ack! Help!